Mitt Romney on Welfare & Poverty

Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent


47% believe they are victims, entitled to you-name-it

The entire 2012 race can be summed up in two words: 47 percent. The particular comment that sparked outrage was the following: There are forty-seven percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are forty-seven percent who are with him, who are dependent upon the government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. And so my job is not to worry about those people--I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

Romney's initial observation, that the Democrats are using entitlements to try to make voters dependent on the big government, has some substantive force. But his conclusion--"my job is not to worry about those people"--is precisely backward. Rather than writing off the 47 percent, we need to reach out to them with economic opportunity.

Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.330-1 , Jun 30, 2015

People in homeless shelters are used to being ignored

After losing the election, Mitt Romney acknowledged the party's problem. Talking to a reporter while volunteering at a homeless shelter, he remarked that the men and women there "are used to being ignored, I guess. Mostly by people like me."

I admire his willingness to shoulder some of the responsibility for the problem, but as matter of fact, Romney has a splendid record of helping people in all walks of life. A leader in his church, he has been fully engaged in its philanthropic efforts over the years. As an employer, he showed his concern for even the most junior employee, and he has given millions of dollars to help those who are less fortunate. Mitt Romney is a model of compassion for those less fortunate than himself, but how many people know about it?

Compare the charitable giving of Mitt Romney, a well-to-do empty nester, to the other wealthy empty nester on the national ticket, Joe Biden. But Romney is the uncaring, wealthy Scrooge, and Biden the common, compassionate Bob Cratchit.

Source: Blue Collar Conservatives, by Rick Santorum, p. 45-6 , Apr 28, 2014

I'm not concerned about very poor; they have safety net

Romney told CNN: "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich. They're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95% of Americans who right now are struggling. You can focus on the very poor, that's not my focus," he said.

Asked whether his words might strike some as odd, Romney said: "We will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor; we have a safety net to help those that are very poor." Romney added that he's more worried about the unemployed, people living on Social Security and those struggling to send their kids to college.

Democrats and Republicans alike pounced and the GOP front-runner quickly sought to explain his remarks. "No, no, no. You've got to take the whole sentence," said Romney, noting that his remark was consistent with his theme throughout the race, adding: "My energy is going to be devoted to helping middle-income people."

Source: Associated Press report, "Romney triggers backlash" , Feb 1, 2012

My faith would inform my presidency

Kennedy's famous speech [on Catholicism in 1960] is actually quite different from the way it is often described. Instead of reconciling his religious identity with his role in public life, Kennedy entirely separated the two.

In the 2008 Republican primary, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's Mormon faith was likewise perceived as an issue by some voters. Claiming that many would be reluctant to pull the lever for a person of his beliefs, some pundits and political advisors urged him to "do a JFK." Just give a speech, they told him, and reassure voters that your faith will have nothing to do with your presidency. Instead, he gave a thoughtful speech that eloquently and correctly described the role of faith in American public life.

Unlike JFK, Romney declared that our religious liberty is "fundamental to America's greatness." And he spoke openly of "how my faith would inform my presidency, if elected."

Source: America by Heart, by Sarah Palin, p.184-185 , Nov 23, 2010

Entitlements: focus on future beyond next election

The entitlement liability can be rectified, and the first step is to create public awareness that pushes the issue to the front burner. That will require political leaders who believe that their next election is less important than their children's future to speak out. It will also require able and relentless investigative voices in the media to refuse to let candidates off the hook who do not confront this issue. Prior to the 2008 economic collapse, there was reason to be hopeful that these voices would emerge. But the turbulence and uncertainty surrounding the financial crisis may keep the entitlement emergency in the shadows, allowing politicians to continue to ignore it for a while longer. Unfortunately, President Obama has done nothing in his first year in office to call attention to this looming crisis or to advance any solutions.
Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.156 , Mar 2, 2010

Opportunity is in our DNA; dependency is death to initiative

What is it about American culture that has led us to become the most powerful nation in the history of the world? We believe in hard work and education. We love opportunity: almost all of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who came here for opportunity--opportunity is in our DNA. Americans love God, and those who donít have faith, typically believe in something greater than themselves. The values and beliefs of the free American people are the source of our nationís strength and they always will be.

The threat to our culture comes from within. The 1960ís welfare programs created a culture of poverty. Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals havenít given up. At every turn, they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug. We have got to fight it like the poison it is.

Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

Creating jobs helps poorest workers; not cash handouts

Q: Democrats say your economic plan doesnít give any money to the 50 million Americans who donít pay taxes.

A: Well, my system is primarily based on trying to create jobs, not handing out cash to individuals. I do lower the lowest income tax bracket from 10% to 7.5%. And that helps people at the low economic level. But the heart of what Iím doing is trying to get businesses to become more active, buying capital equipment, trying to get businesses to grow in this country and to create more jobs.

Q: But what about those 50 million who donít pay any taxes? Nothing for them?

A: Well, itís focused on jobs. What you want to do is provide the incentives to help companies to be create new jobs. Obviously, the best antidote to having an economic slowdown is growth in the business sector, creating jobs, and that generates more income for everybody. But for those that are not paying any taxes at all, simply writing a check doesnít seem to me to be the right course to follow.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: ďChoosing the PresidentĒ series , Jan 20, 2008

Vetoed $220K for state-run homelessness projects

Budget Item 7004-3036 was reduced by the Governor from $1,221,925 to $1,000,000; the Governor disapproved $141,000 for Just-A-Start housing stabilization conflict management services, a program to prevent homelessness; and $80,925 for the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance. A vote of YES would override the Governorís veto and fund the two programs.
Source: MassScorecard.org Voting Record Bill H.4001; passed 143-8 , Jul 14, 2005

Vetoed studying how MA can overcome federal workfare rules

The governor vetoed the part of Budget Item 1599-4408 which authorized a study on potential state responses to federal welfare rule changes. The study would propose methods to maintain existing welfare coverage when federal changes reduced such coverage.
Source: MassScorecard.org Voting Record roll call 93, passed 130-19 , Jul 14, 2005

Faith-based programs to provide social services

Governor Mitt Romney has created a special office to help faith-based groups in Massachusetts land more federal money, and he appointed his wife, Ann, to lead it. Romney endorsed faith-based programs yesterday as a means to provide social services and said he wanted to step up the state's efforts to help religious groups and charities attract federal help.

Critics of the faith-based effort warn that Romney's move bolsters President Bush's attempt to get more federal dollars to religious organizations carrying out social services, a policy they say is eroding the traditional division between church and state. ''The Bush administration is trying to break down the church-state wall and give public money to the churches without the legal safeguards that ought to be in place," said one critic.

Faith-based organizations apply directly for the federal grants, but Romney said the state can assist groups in the application process.

Source: By Frank Phillips, Boston Globe, "Faith-Based" , Jun 29, 2005

Would require welfare recipients to work

Romney suggested three policy changes: requiring welfare recipients to go to work immediately; eliminating capital gains taxes for firms that invest in inner-city enterprise zones and awarding tax credits for hiring poor residents of those areas; and imposing a crime crackdown with tough mandatory minimum sentences.
Source: Anthony Flint in Boston Globe on 2012 Presidential race , Nov 1, 1994

Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Mitt Romney on other issues:
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Bill Weld
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Don Berwick
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Marty Walsh
Richard Tisei
Seth Moulton
Setti Warren
Shiva Ayyadurai
Sonia Chang-Diaz
Steve Grossman
Tom Menino
Warren Tolman
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